The bestselling author of The Beauty Myth , Vagina and The End of America illuminates a dramatic history of John Addington Symonds
The bestselling author of The Beauty Myth, Vagina and The End of America illuminates a dramatic history - how the Obscene Publications Act of 1857 led to reverberations lasting to our day.
At once, dissent and morality, deviancy and normalcy, became modern legal concepts: if writers, editors, printers and booksellers did not uphold the law and the morals of society they faced serious repercussions.
Wolf depicts the ways this censorship played out - decades before the infamous trial of Oscar Wilde - among a bohemian group of 'sexual dissidents', including Walt Whitman in America and the English critic John Addington Symonds, who fell in love with Whitman's homoerotic voice in Leaves of Grass. This was a dangerous love, even if only expressed on the page.
Algernon Charles Swinburne, Dante and Christina Rossetti, Walter Pater and painter Simeon Solomon were among the artists whose lives were shadowed with jeopardy. But Wolf also reveals how, cleverly, they crafted their works to avoid the censor.
Wolf recounts how a dying Symonds, inspired by his love for Whitman, helped to write the book on 'sexual inversion' one of the foundations of our modern understanding of homosexuality. By shining a light on his secret memoir, rightfully understood as one of the first gay rights manifestos in the west, Outrages also shows how the literature of love ultimately triumphs over censorship.
About the Author
Naomi Wolf conpleted a DPhil in English Literature from the University of Oxford in 2015. She taught Victorian Studies as a Visiting Professor at SUNY Stony Brook, received a Barnard College Research Fellowship at the Center for Women and Gender, was recipient of a Rothermere American Institute Research Fellowship for her work on John Addington Symonds at the University of Oxford, and taught advocacy literature at George Washington University as a visiting lecturer. She's lectured widely on the themes in Outrages: Sex, Censorship and the Criminalization of Love, presenting lectures on Symonds and the themes in Outrages at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, at Balliol College, Oxford, and to the undergraduates in the English Faculty at the University of Oxford. She lectured about Symonds and Outrages for the first LGBTQ Colloquium at Rhodes House. Dr Wolf was a Rhodes Scholar and a Yale graduate. She's written eight non-fiction bestsellers about women's issues and civil liberties, and is the CEO of DailyClout.io, a news site and legislative database in which US state and Federal legislation is shared digitally and read and explained weekly. She holds an honorary degree from Sweet Briar College. She and her family live in New York City.